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Homefact-checkFact Check: Are Skittles banned in California?

Fact Check: Are Skittles banned in California?

Bans or warnings about food products can often cause confusion, with claims about the harm of controversial ingredients leading to misinformation online.

The World Health Organization caused a stir this year after announcing that aspartame, an ingredient found in Diet Coke, was a potential carcinogen, later saying that an adult weighing 70kg (about 154 pounds) would need to drink between nine and 14 cans a day to “exceed the acceptable daily intake.”

In a similar vein, news that a ban on product additives, signed into law in California, would lead to a prohibition, specifically or at least in part, of Skittles.

The Claim

A post on X, formerly Twitter, by Hip Hop/Viral News outlet Daily Loud, posted on October 10, 2023, viewed 10.9 million times, said: “California will officially ban Skittles and other candies from the state starting 2027 as Governor Gavin Newsom signed bill AB 418, also known as The California Food Safety Act.

“The bill targets food products that contain the substances brominated vegetable oil, potassium bromate, propylparaben or red dye 3. Red dye 3 is found in Skittles and other confectionaries like PEZ, Hot Tamales and Dubble Bubble gum, while brominated vegetable oil is normally concocted in citrus soft drinks.”

The Facts

California is not banning Skittles.

As signed by Newsom on October 7, 2023, California has banned any food product that contains brominated vegetable oil, potassium bromate, propylparaben or red dye 3.

These four additives are found in thousands of foods, as stated by the Environmental Working Group, a non-profit activist organization that, among other roles, profiles additive lists for food products listed across the U.S.

The ban would prohibit the use of the listed chemicals above but does not outright ban products that contain them.

As was stated in an announcement upon signing the bill, Newsom included a photo of a packet of Skittles from the European Union, saying: “This is demonstrable proof that the food industry is capable of maintaining product lines while complying with different public health laws, country-to-country.”

While some outlets and social media posts still called the bill a “Skittles ban,” this appears to be a hang-up from an early iteration of the bill that proposed the prohibition of titanium dioxide, an ingredient found in Skittles. It is not in the version of the bill passed this month.

Newsweek has reached out to Mars Incorporated and Newsom’s office via email for comment.

The Ruling

False.

There is no ban on Skittles in California. The state recently banned four additives that are used in thousands of foods and food products around the United States. However, that does not mean products have been banned.

The Skittles ban was a moniker attributed to earlier versions of the bill that proposed the removal of titanium dioxide, which is found in Skittles. The proposal was later removed.

FACT CHECK BY Newsweek’s Fact Check team

False: The claim is demonstrably false. Primary source evidence proves the claim to be false. Read more about our ratings.

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